S&D Euro MP and vice-chair of the employment and social affairs committee, Marita Ulvskog, today led a cross-party majority on a proposal calling on the EU to better protect workers from the exposure of substances which are toxic to reproduction, and for stricter limit values that protect workers from exposure to carcinogens such as wood dust, crystalline silica and chromium VI.

Marita Ulvskog said after the vote:

“We need stricter limit values than proposed by the Commission on crystalline silica, chromium VI and wood dust. The values adopted are in line with scientific evidence and the recommendations by the Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits (SCOEL) values.”

“When it comes to reprotoxic substances there are at least 2 to 3 million workers exposed to these substances in the EU. These workers have not had adequate protection and have been seen by the industry sector as collateral damage. We need binding exposure limits for reprotoxic substances which are harmful to the reproductive health of workers.

“The committee is proposing to widen the scope of the EU legislation on the protection of workers from carcinogens or mutagens at work to include reprotoxic substances.”

“We also need to ensure that workers exposed to these harmful substances benefit from lifelong monitoring. It does not matter how long you have been exposed to these substances, you can still develop life-threatening diseases long after you have ended your job.”

S&D Group spokesperson on employment and social affairs, Jutta Steinruck, added:

“Every year 100.000 workers in the EU die simply because they are exposed to carcinogenic substances at the workplace. We expect the Commission to introduce new limit values for further substances and to broaden the scope of the directive to include reprotoxic substances. A delay is not an option as the health of millions of people depends on it.”

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